How to Choose the Right Physical Therapist Course near Summerdale Alabama
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Summerdale AL is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the appropriate training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate the ones you are thinking about to ensure they will supply a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is enroll in a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, such as Summerdale AL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Summerdale AL medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are three physical therapy degrees available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degrees that are available in the Summerdale AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often made available by community colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to prepare candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally require 4 years to finish and usually incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program must also be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the overall investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal element along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in a number of states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has taken the place of the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer attainable in the USA. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Colleges Online
While not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Summerdale AL home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition can be significantly lower than similar on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you most likely have made a decision regarding some of your preliminary queries, like the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Summerdale AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll have to explore additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Moreover, you need to make sure that you enroll in the program that is best for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously stated, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online college, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call several Summerdale AL physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your college options. It may also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Summerdale AL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also affirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you choose provides both excellent training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are assessing have relationships with Summerdale AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Summerdale health care community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Summerdale AL residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance department and find out what type of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapist program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Summerdale AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Summerdale Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Summerdale AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Summerdale is a rural town in south-central Baldwin County, Alabama, United States. It is the site of the Naval Outlying Field Summerdale. At the 2010 census the population was 862. It is part of the Daphne–Fairhope–Foley Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Summerdale is located at 30°29'15.468" North, 87°42'4.036" West (30.487630, -87.701121).Alabama State Route 59 passes along the west side of the town, leading north 5 miles (8 km) to Robertsdale and south 6 miles (10 km) to Foley.
As of the census of 2000, there were 655 people, 255 households, and 184 families residing in the town. The population density was 125.7 people per square mile (48.5/km²). There were 282 housing units at an average density of 54.1 per square mile (20.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 90.23% White, 4.89% Black or African American, 1.07% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.92% from other races, and 2.75% from two or more races. Nearly 2.29% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Top Ranked Physical Therapy Schools Summerdale AL
Choosing the right physical therapist college is an important initial decision you need to make to launch a fulfilling career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you pick should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are other critical questions that you need to ask regarding your college of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Top Ranked Physical Therapy Schools. However, as you start your search for a physical therapy college bear in mind that a number of factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to different campuses to see their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Summerdale AL.
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